Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring/Summer Fitness Series #2

Now that all of your arms are plenty sore from Carly Garreffa's workout of Carly G Fitness I thought I'd throw in a nice core workout into the mix with our next fabulous trainer...
Meet Lesley Sheehan of Common Goal Fitness!

Learn about Lesley & Common Goal Fitness...We have one body to take us through this life, I train my clients to treat it right, keep it strong, flexible, mobile and looking good. I'm here to offer a challenging workout designed to fit you and your needs. Count on me to provide support, sparkling conversation, accountability and the push you're looking for. I apply functional, dynamic movements that move the body in all three planes of motion: back to front, side to side and rotational. Whatever your fitness goal, my goal will be bringing you closer to yours.

I could go on and on about my credentials (they're impressive) and my experience (it's vast) but I'm more interested in you and what you're looking for. After all this isn't about me, it's about YOU!
Work your body from the inside out!
Every movement we do comes from our core. Our core works as the gyroscope to keep us balanced in our daily movement. In fact, there are billions of receptors involved in balance during movement and these are connected to the muscles of the core.

If our upper and lower body is strong, but the core is weak, we are very vulnerable to a host of problems, the biggest of which is injury. Low back pain, bulging stomachs, loose gluteals, and large 'love handles' are strong signs that signal the need for core training.
The following four movements all include the use of and the need for core strength.

Sliding Slide Lunge with Weights Need: paper plate and a weight

This move targets the glutes, hips, thighs and core all at the same time. By using a paper plate and sliding on one leg in and out, you add intensity to the traditional side lunge. Taking the weight toward the floor engages the core, making this a dynamic exercise that will really challenge you.

1. Put a paper plate under the left foot and hold a weight (I use a 10lb kettle bell) in the left hand.

2. Keep your body weight in the right leg and bend the knee as you slide the left foot out to the side, keeping the leg straight.

3. As you squat toward the floor, keeping the knee behind the toes, take the weight down and touch the floor.

4. Squat as low as you can and keep the back flat, abs engaged.

5. Push back up, slide the left foot in as you stand. Repeat for 8 - 15 reps and then switch sides, completing 1 - 3 sets

Plank: Knee to Elbow - Need: a towel or mat

The traditional plank exercise is notorious for strengthening the core. My favorite kind of plank involves even more core by inserting a knee bend into the exercise. You'll challenge the core every more in this 3-point stance (just two hands and one foot) and engage the lower body muscles of the working leg as well.

1. Begin in a plank position, on the hands and toes.

2. Make sure the body is in a straight line from the head to the heels, core braced.

3. Life the left foot off the floor and bend the knee, pulling it in towards the chest. Your torso might bend a little as you bring the knee in.

4. Cross the left foot over the right leg, hold briefly, then take the left knee back to the chest.

5. Bring the left foot back into full plank and repeat on the other side.

Repeat, alternating sides, for 1 - 3 sets of 8 reps (1 rep includes a knee bend with both right and left legs)

Tricep Kickback - Need: two dumbbells

The kickback is a common triceps exercise that involves extending the arm while the torso is in a bent position. For this variation, you extend both arms at the same time, which will involve more lower back stabilization and use of all muscles related to your core.

1. Hold a medium weight in both hands and bend over until your torso is at a 45-degree angle or parallel to the floor (more advanced). Bend the knees if needed and keep the abs engaged to protect the lower back.

2. Begin the movement by bending the arms and pulling the elbows up to torso level.

3. Holding that position, straighten the arms out behind you, squeezing the triceps muscles.

4. Bend the arms back to starting position and repeat for 10 - 16 reps.

Tips - Do this exercise one arm at a time if you're using heavier weights or need more support for your lower back. Try not to swing the arms to get the weights up. Keep the abs engaged!

Clamshell Crunch - Need: a big stability ball

Here's a sure fire challenge for...(drum roll please)...YOUR CORE! The clamshell crunch is a whole body movement, that involves the arms, legs abs and lower back. Your inner thighs squeeze a big stability ball between your feet while your arms and chest exchange the ball to hold it in your hands. It's a tough move, so make sure you only lower down as far as you comfortably can without the back arching off the floor. Start with a small range of motion and slowly build the strength and endurance for the full exercise - your low back will thank you.

1. Begin by lying on your back with the legs straight up.

2. Hold the ball in both hands with the arms extended above you.

3. Put the ball between your feet, squeezing them to keep the ball in place, and lower both the arms and legs down towards the floor.

4. Bring them back up and take the ball in your hands.

5. Lower the arms and legs down towards the floor again and continue, exchanging the ball between the hands and feet for 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Avoid arching the back at the bottom of the movement. If you have trouble with that, place a rolled up towel under the hips, bend the knees and/or only lower the arms and legs a few inches instead of all the way down.

Lesley Sheehan is a ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. You can find her at Denali Fitness (Interbay) and The Fitness Lab. Call or email her at Lesley@commongoalfitness.com / 206-909-9926

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